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September 20, 2003

Under The Knife

Work in Progress

by Will Carroll

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As I get deeper into the initial research for my upcoming book, I'm finding more theories on pitcher injuries than I ever expected, ranging from the insightful to the oddball. Everything from high pitch counts within an inning to batters faced vs. innings pitched. Some are ludicrous, some are provocative, and some I can't make heads or tails from, but I did find a couple interesting things. First, a pitcher that can go 200 innings for four or more seasons during the post-Tommy John era is a good bet to remain healthy and in the cases where there is an injury, it is after a significant period of time, such as with John Smoltz. If you have an interesting theory of your own or just want to point me in some direction, feel free. By now, you know my e-mail.

Last call for the Toronto Pizza Feed. I'll have final details, but get your RSVPs in quick. I'm working on getting a Birmingham Feed and if someone wants to organize an Atlanta Feed for mid-October, e-mail me.

  • As the Red Sox fight both the Mariners and the specter of the Yankees, they'll do it with a fully-loaded Pedro Martinez. Quotes today from Red Sox Nation include tidbits that Pedro's recent longer outings were part of a master plan. If the plan is to be believed (and color me somewhat skeptical), Pedro's extra days of rest, short outings, and conditioning program all built up to this. This bears watching as some sort of modern version of the "Sunday Pitcher." If it works, like anything successful in sports, it will be imitated. The Sox are also dealing with the limited availability of Bill Mueller, out with back spasms. Adding in Johnny Damon's problems and a bullpen that seems to be missing only J. Irving Bentley, and the Sox, like every other playoff team, have an Achilles heel.

  • Speaking of teams that are dealing with injury problems and overcoming them, the A's seem to be the masters. With Keith Foulke likely to be back on Friday, but the back spasms quite possible to recur, the bullpen in Oakland will need to be watched closely and set up for the playoffs. I don't think Foulke's injury should be a major problem, but the chance of his unavailability in even one close game could be the tipping point in a playoff series. As the China Trust Whales discovered this season, even one game lost can make the difference between the playoffs and making tee times. On the good news front, Chris Singleton and Billy McMillon should be back, perhaps as early as Friday after treatment to Singleton's back and McMillon's finger reduced symptoms.

  • Curt Schilling has begun another treatment cycle for a painful neck, but since the MRI showed nothing structural, he'll probably be able to do what he did last time--spend a lot of time with Paul Lessard and make his next scheduled start. He was pretty good last time out.

  • Milton Bradley returned to Cleveland to be checked by team medical staff, but will return to California to continue an accepted trunk strengthening program. It's much like the ones that Ivan Rodriguez and Vladimir Guerrero went through with so much success, so I have confidence that Bradley will be able to return on a purely physical basis. In Cleveland, as deep as they are and with Bradley's perceived problems, he may be forced out for non-physical considerations.

  • Bone chips sounds more like a dog treat than a serious injury, but I think Bobby Estalella will vouch for the gravity of the condition. Surgery today took out six pieces of bone from his elbow, including a quarter-sized jagged piece that had lodged in the articular surface. Estalella has chronic elbow problems, but doctors and the Rockies believe he'll be able to return next season. Estalella's on a one-year contract, but sounds like someone that will be back in Denver.

  • The Pirates will be without Reggie Sanders, one player they weren't able to trade away, as he recovers from a mild oblique strain. His time lost will be minimal. One of the players they acquired, Bobby Hill, has been shut down with a back injury and should fight for the starting second base job next year.

  • Quick cuts: Kevin Jarvis is probably done for the season. He has simple tendinitis, but there's nothing worth risking him for with Petco opening in 2004...A great story...Jose Lima returned for the Royals on Thursday, looking mediocre but getting the win. His mechanics looked decidedly altered.

This is just sickening. My Senator has an e-mail right now and I'll encourage you to do the same. Have a good weekend and remember the troops.

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